I want to ask you to forgive us. We’ve kind of been jerks lately. We’ve been attacking you for anything and everything. I mean, there was that whole Tide Pod eating challenge, so we had some ammo. But we attacked you, demeaned you, and told you your opinions don’t matter. We tried to make you think you weren’t old enough, educated enough, or smart enough to have a say in what happens in our society. Correction: YOUR society. We’ve been shaking our fingers at you and turning our backs in disgust. When you attempt to stand up for what you believe is right, we do whatever we can to discredit you.
Lisa Snell photo
I need to apologize. This isn’t your fault; we’re the ones who raised you. When we bash your generation we’re basically saying we’ve failed you. We flooded your world with social media. When you were young children we handed you electronics that link you directly to the world and threw you to wolves because it was easier on us if you were occupied. You were just kids, and we failed to protect you for what was to come. We gave you medals even when you didn’t earn them because we selfishly didn’t want you to experience failure. We feared punishing you when you deserved punishment because we had this strange need to be your friend. We basically told you that you can do whatever you want and there won’t be consequences, at least not from us. Not only did we fail to catch you in this free fall, we actually pushed you off the cliff. This isn’t your fault. Our fingers are pointed in the wrong direction.
It’s not you, dear teenagers, it’s us. But let’s not break up. Give us a second chance. We can do better, I promise.
In our heart we know you’re not all Tide Pod-eating, condom-snorting fools. Just like I hope you know we aren’t all angry, self-righteous jerks. We’ve been watching you change the world, and honestly, I think we’re a little intimidated, a little scared. We didn’t grow up like you did. We didn’t have instant access to anything except Super Mario Bros and Tetris, and if saving the princess or interlocking shapes makes us smarter than you, then we win—but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. But you, you have instant access to everything and that seems to be a double-edged sword: one side we’re using to stab you with and the other side we’re trying to protect you from. You have a responsibility that we can’t wrap our minds around. You have a voice that we didn’t have. We had to record things then plug them in to the TV and invite our friends over to watch. We had to write out our thoughts on actual paper and mail them somewhere in hopes to be heard. We had to actually watch shows when they aired and sit through commercials. We even took selfies!! Most of us probably have piles of unusable pictures because we had to take 10 of the same thing and then cross our fingers while we waited five days to have them developed. Maybe we’re just a little bitter. Would you give us some grace while we try to remember what it’s like to have one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood? Would you forgive us while we stumble through remembering what it’s like to want to be heard while our voices are changing? Would you extend a hand while we stumble over giving you mercy in your journey, the same mercy we so desperately needed in ours once upon a time (and often still do)?